Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

New Discoveries for Cancer Risk: Researchers Worldwide Take Part in one of History’s Largest Scientific Consortium

October 9, 2013

MONTREAL, Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Hundreds of researchers from North
America, Europe, Australia and Asia have joined together in a
consortium to identify the genetic basis of the five most common forms
of cancer – breast, prostate, lung, ovarian and colorectal. The group,
called the OncoArray Consortium, developed a new customized genotyping
tool – the OncoArray – manufactured by the U.S. genomics firm Illumina,

“The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded Genetic Associations
and Mechanisms of Oncology (GAME-ON) initiative has been instrumental
in bringing together multiple consortia and provides primary funding
for the OncoArray Consortium. It allowed us to design a custom array
that incorporates some 530,000 markers, which is planned for genotyping
on over 425,000 samples from patients with one of the five types of
cancer and control subjects from around the world. The sheer size of
the sample is unprecedented for a study on the genetic factors involved
in cancer. The OncoArray Consortium’s work will provide insight into
the inherited genetic basis of cancer and help scientists understand
the underlying biology of cancer,” explained Professor Christopher
Amos, Head of Dartmouth’s Center for Genomic Medicine, in the US, and
the leader of the Lung Cancer consortium.

This project is a direct extension of the work that has been achieved in
recent years through the Collaborative Oncological Gene-Environment
Study (COGS). “The OncoArray will allow us to enhance our current
understanding of the genetic factors associated with the risk of
multiple cancers,” explained Cancer Research UK funded Professor
Douglas Easton of University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). “We are
proud to be involved in this international initiative, which will
significantly accelerate the pace of discovery and lead to a greater
understanding of a disease that affects one in three people,” he

About 200 studies are involved in this project and nearly 50 countries
participate in the consortium.

Breast cancer samples will represent more than one-third of the samples
under analysis. “This is the largest number of samples ever used for
research into the genetic basis of breast cancer risk,” noted
Université Laval Professor Jacques Simard, who works at the Genomics
Centre of the CHU de Québec Research Centre, and chair holder of the
Canada Research Chair in Oncogenetics. Québec is at the forefront of
this study, since the results will be used for a Québec-based project
aiming to improve the early detection of breast cancer, an initiative
funded by Génome Québec, Genome Canada, the CIHR and the Québec Breast
Cancer Foundation. “The work of Professor Jacques Simard will broaden
our current understanding of this terrible disease, leading to better
risk stratification tools that will increase our ability to deliver
better-targeted screening services to those women at higher risk,” said
Marc LePage, President and CEO of Génome Québec.

Leading efforts in prostate cancer are Brian Henderson and Ros Eeles.
“The OncoArray will provide fresh clues to the origin of these cancers
and will hasten novel approaches to prevention and treatment,” Dr.
Henderson said. “Every year 220,000 men in the US are diagnosed with
prostate cancer, and there are 30,000 deaths. This indicates many
people are being treated who don’t need it. We hope this product will
help us focus on the men who have the highest risk to the more fatal
forms of this disease.”

“This new research consortium will give us a fantastic opportunity to
look at huge numbers of gene variants in prostate cancer patients
across the world, helping expand our knowledge of the genetic basis of
this disease,” said Ros Eeles, Professor of Oncogenetics at The
Institute of Cancer Research, London, which along with the University
of Cambridge.

Leading efforts in colorectal cancer is Kenneth T. Norris Jr. Chair in
Cancer Prevention, Keck Medicine of USC, and Stephen Gruber, director,
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck Medicine of USC. Leading
efforts in breast cancer on behalf of the US NCI are David J. Hunter,
Dean for Academic Affairs, Harvard School of Public Health; for ovarian
cancer the US NCI leader is Tom Sellers, Director of the Moffit Cancer
Center in Florida. In addition, the Consortium of Investigators of
Modifiers of BRCA1/2, led by Georgia Chenevix-Trench, will genotype the
OncoArray on about 30,000 women and men who carry mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

The project is funded through major grants from the U.S. National Cancer
Institute to the GAME-ON initiative and the Division of Cancer
Epidemiology and Genetics; Genome Canada/Génome Québec/CIHR/Québec
Breast Cancer Foundation through the Personalized Risk Stratification
for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer; Cancer Research UK
(Cambridge University and The Institute of Cancer Research); Movember
and Prostate Cancer UK (The Institute of Cancer Research) and EU’s FP7
grant program (COGS), together with many other partners.

    About OncoArray Consortium                                                                                          About Génome Québec
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    About Cancer Research UK                                                                                            About CHU de Québec
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    About COGS                                                                                                          About Dartmouth's Center for Genomic Medicine
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    About Harvard School of Public Health                                                                               About Institute of Cancer Research London UK
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    About Keck Medicine of USC                                                                                          Moffit Cancer Center in Florida
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    About National Cancer Institute (USA)                                                                               About Queensland institute of Medical Research
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    About Université Laval                                                                                              About University of Cambridge
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SOURCE Génome Québec

Source: PR Newswire